I did the Vegas bachelorette thing last week with a couple of friends and my sister. *Side note, I’m not overly fond of the term “bachelorette,” but it’s a million times better than the British “hen do.” Though, apparently the Canadians call them Stagettes.*

Anyhow, we somehow ended up carrying a six foot inflatable penis around the Vegas strip one night, which was quite the experience.  My phone has predictive text, as in it predicts your next word based on your past text messages. This is what it predicts when I type “Six foot inflatable”

My phone now thinks I’m a pervert.



For those of you who want(ed) to be a marine biologist when you grow up, I thought I’d share a bit of the project I’m currently working on.  It should make you feel better about your life choices, since you are likely not a marine biologist.  If you are a marine biologist, it should make you feel better about whatever boring project you’re working on.

We are building a giant database for all Gulf sturgeon, and to do this we have to incorporate historic data from several different agencies.  Fortunately, most people have digital copies of their data (e.g. an Excel spreadsheet), but UNfortunately there are two years of data that were never entered (more on that later).  Which brings me to what I’m doing now: entering data from paper datasheets into an Excel spreadsheet so that it can be incorporated into the bigger Oracle database. Now, I’m no stranger to data entry and for the most part I can be pretty zen about the whole thing. Turn on some tunes and pretty much let my fingers do the thinking. Until this came along.

What fresh hell is this?

For the non-scientists, you should know that the language of science is numbers, and those numbers are ALWAYS metric. Inches are stupid and imprecise.  If you look at the picture, you’ll notice that the lengths of these fish are in feet and inches, and not just regular feet and inches, but there are entries such as 4′ 8 3/8″.  Three eights of a motherfucking inch!!  Unfortunately, I’m an idiot and have spent the last month using an online conversion site to get each individual length in cm (hence the blue penned in numbers).  This picture represents the exact moment I realized I could just type in the feet and inches and have Excel convert them for me.  Which is much faster, but still so annoying I want to claw my eyes out, because I have to enter things like =(3/8+8). ‘Cause I’m sorry, but I do not know what 3/8 is, other than just shy of 0.50.  You might not notice that the weight is in pounds, unless you were to know that the “#” above Weight means lbs to whoever was taking data.  Sometimes they were nice enough to denote the units, sometimes I have to guess. Sometimes the same column has both lbs and kg, which is my favorite because then my autofill stops working.

I don’t even want to talk about the fact that we live in a world where datasheets representing hundreds of hours of work, tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars, and hundreds of fish (which are listed under the Endangered Species Act) can sit in a filing cabinet for four years.  It fulfills the oldtimer government employee stereotype and confirms that some scientists just don’t give a shit. Which shouldn’t really be surprising. I mean, it is just a job afterall. I’d like to think that people have enough pride in their work to at least TRY, but I’m often disappointed.  I can say, however, that for every one dead weight government scientist, there are at least two that more than make up for them.  By and large, we are hard working people who are honestly trying to make a difference, in spite of the fact that there are few personal and professional rewards for our diligence.  Bonuses tend to range in the hundreds of dollars, promotions are limited depending on your pay grade, and the inability of Congress to pass a budget hinders new projects and hiring of key personnel.  In spite of all of that, we largely remain excited about our research and continue to kick ass (on the research front, anyhow.  We’re all jaded curmudgeons about the bureaucracy part of the job).

So. I’m trudging through knowing that the finished database will be pretty awesome and all of those fish can now be tracked through time using their tag numbers.  My efforts will (hopefully) help some poor grad student figure out the natural mortality of the species, which will in turn lead to a better management plan and therefore a more certain recovery.  At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.


I think it’s fair to say that I’m a bit of an Anthropologie nut.  If you know me at all, this is not a surprise.  I’d say approximately 50% of my wardrobe (and about the same amount of my credit card debt) originated from there.  Because we live in a small town, I only get to visit the stores when I’m in a large city, usually when I’m at a conference.  So, I’m forced to do all of my Anthro drooling online.  Even though I recognize that everything is overpriced, and the quality of quite a bit of the clothes is suspect, I just can’t resist clicking on the link when I get the “It’s a sale!” emails. Half the stuff there borders on the ridiculous, either because of the price, or because it looks like something a third grader threw together.

One of my favorite things about Anthropologie is the unabashedly, stupidly expensive merchandise they offer.  I like to click on the “Gifts” tab just to see what comes up.  For instance, this little gem is described as “African folk art,” and can be yours for only $788.

I am currently resisting the sale items (and extra 20% off!) right now because my October Resolution was to Stop. (Mindlessly). Shopping. The only exceptions to this rule are 1) if it is needed for the wedding and 2) if it helps to complete the Resort Wear look I’ve been cultivating for Mexico for, oh, the last year.  I have a vision of myself looking like this the entire wedding week/honeymoon:

Is this so much to ask for?

I’m currently trying to justify a pair of $50 silk “loungers,” which are basically pajama pants.  With a bikini top, scarf on my head, and giant black sunglasses, wouldn’t I look glamorous? And 20% off, so really only, like $5 with shipping. Right?

I’m just going to keep staring at them until I decide I don’t really need them.


I’m still not convinced that’s how it is really spelled, but so far Chrome has not underlined it in red, so that’s what I’m going with.  I’ve decided to give the shellack manicure a try as a possibility for the wedding, given that we are traveling to Central America directly afterwards and I want something durable or nothing at all. See previous post about things I never saw myself doing before I got engaged.  If you’re not aware, shellacking is basically a gel coat over a regular coat of nail polish that is supposed to resist chipping and, yes I know you’ve stopped reading by now.

Since this is a blog, I’ve decided to go for the personal experience angle and do a trial and error, just for you, Internet.  Full disclosure, I actually wanted the pink, slightly nude color that matched my toenails, but the guy doing my nails seemed to think a French manicure would look better.  I’m guessing, anyhow, because that is what I came home with.  At some point I remember him pointing to my fingers and saying something about the tips of my fingers, and I said, “Sorry? Oh, yes. Mmm hmm.” And now my nail tips are blindingly white. What can I say, I’m a coward.

I have to admit I was skeptical, but in the 10 hours since the manicure, I have done a ton of laundry, cooked dinner, taken a shower, gone grocery shopping… Ok, this is depressing. I’ll post again after the beach tomorrow and see how they do.  Also, never realized how awkward pictures of hands could be to take.

So, here’s what they look like Day One.

So far, so good

And here’s about a week later.  The tips are still fine, but the clear polish has started to chip off around the cuticles.  The gel coat puts an extra couple of millimeters of polish on your nails, so it makes them super strong but it took me a long time to get used to.

As a point of reference, I’m really hard on my nails. I do everything with them, which is why I generally do not wear polish in the first place, because it’s ruined the first day.  A little over a week after the manicure, I went to the beach then came come and dug around in the garden without gloves. That’s when I had the first casualty. Keep in mind, though, that it continued to look like this for the rest of the week, without further peeling away or chipping (and I’m OCD about peeling things.  If it were possible, I would have scraped it off).

A week after this, I went in the field doing sturgeon work and it all went to hell. I didn’t bother with pictures.  Basically I could get some off by peeling them, and others wouldn’t budge. I ended up weakening my nails by removing the top layer of nail… stuff. Whatever.  Oh and FYI Nail polish remover does not touch it.  So I ended up having to go back to the salon to have the few remaining nails taken off.  They soaked them in something (acetone?), then scraped off the flaked polish with a metal tool, which also removed the top layer of my nails.

So, end result: Not doing this for the wedding.  If I were having it here, or even honeymooning anywhere with nail salon near by, I would definitely consider it.  Also, Simon said he thought only 16 year olds got French manicures, which pretty much ruined it for me. I’ve tried to do a couple of manicures using light pinks at home, and both have been disasters (on Sunday I managed to squeeze the bottle out from between my knees and twirl nail polish all over my coffee table and area rug).  So, I’m thinking a clear coat will probably do it.

Things to remind myself

And someone will throw up and someone’s baby will cry during the vows and the music will be too young for the old people and too old for the young people and your relatives will glare at each other and get poisonously drunk and either fight or descend into mute fury, and in the middle of it all it will be time to cut the cake, which some relative or other will regard as very very urgent, and you’ll freak out and grab the caterer and say “Have you seen my husband?” and when you use that word for the first time, every dreadful thing happening around you will fade a bit as you realize that your family, the family you really belong to, has just shifted from the one you inherited to the one you’ve invented.

The Hairpin

Think of the families!

A Town Abuzz Over Prostitution and a Client List

Generally, women who were interviewed here seemed to applaud making the list public with as much information as possible. Men, on the other hand, generally thought that the crime was minor and that releasing the names would only harm the families.


Chet Galeucia, who lives in Saco, said he agreed with his wife that the names should be published. “If I committed a crime, they would publish my name and address,” he said.

But Jim Pickett, who lives in Portland, disagreed. “You don’t want to hurt the families,” he said. Asked whether the husband had not already hurt the family, he said: “But the family doesn’t know about it. It’s not the worst crime. It’s not like stealing.”

Besides, he said, going to a prostitute is “natural.” Who is the victim? he asked. “Certainly not the woman. She’s inviting it. She made $150,000 in 18 months.”

What. The. Eff. I’m actually pro legal prostitution. I mean, if that’s what you want to do for a living, get you some.  But A) I hate the bullshit argument that it’s natural for men to cheat on their wives, and B) if you don’t want to hurt families, don’t go to a hooker.